Fitzpatrick's 25 leads Bulls past Rattlers, 83-59
TAMPA -- USF coach Stan Heath went into Sunday's game with just six healthy scholarship players available, with two Bulls limited by strep throat, another healthy but suspended and another leaving the team to transfer.
All that didn't matter in the end, as the Bulls (6-4), trailing with five minutes left in the first half, scored the next 17 points, eventually cruising to an 83-59 win at the Martinez Center against a Florida A&M team still winless against Division I opponents.
Junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had a career-best 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting, and guard Hugh Robertson, pressed into a starting role due to Victor Rudd's illness, went off for nine points and 21 rebounds, the latter the 2nd-most by a Bulls player in the last 19 years.
"Toarlyn, I thought, was very good on the offensive end, knocking down shots, being aggressive and being versatile," Heath said. "I thought Hugh Robertson was just fantastic -- his energy level, just his effort plays, rebounding the ball and rebounding the ball and rebounding the ball."
Freshman point guard Anthony Collins continued his strong play, with 10 points in the first half and a season-high eight assists and three steals against just two turnovers. The two starters limited by illness, Rudd and center Ron Anderson, both wound up playing, with Rudd getting 11 points in 23 minutes; Anderson played only three minutes. Guard Shaun Noriega went 3-for-6 on 3-pointers for 12 points, his best showing since the season opener.
The Bulls announced before the game that sophomore point guard Lavonte Dority had left the team and is seeking to transfer. His minutes had dropped considerably with the arrival of Collins -- after averaging 26 point in the first three games, he had totaled three in USF's last two games.
Guard Reggie Lewis had 17 points and five assists to lead Florida A&M (2-8). The Bulls next play Wednesday at Auburn before returning Saturday to face Cleveland State at the St. Pete Times Forum.